Melbourne Writers Festival: How Louis de Bernieres survived being a bestseller

The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieres.
Nanjing Night Net

British novelist Louis de Bernieres will speak at the opening of the 30th Melbourne Writers Festival. Photo: Penny Stephens

British novelist Louis de Bernieres will speak at the opening of the 30th Melbourne Writers Festival. Photo: Penny Stephens

The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieres.

British novelist Louis de Bernieres will speak at the opening of the 30th Melbourne Writers Festival. Photo: Penny Stephens

The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieres.

British novelist Louis de Bernieres will speak at the opening of the 30th Melbourne Writers Festival. Photo: Penny Stephens

Louis de Bernieres. Photo: Penny Stephens

Read a review of The Dust That Falls from Dreams 

In the early part of his career, Louis de Bernieres, fuelled by coffee and cigarettes, wrote four novels within four years. He’s grateful that the first three had been published before the fourth, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, became a gigantic hit, selling millions of copies.

It changed his life, bringing fame, fortune and critical acclaim. But without the early publishing experience, he doubts he would have been able to cope. “I would have spent the money, despaired – and taken to drugs and alcohol.”

The British novelist, fuelled these days by red wine (“it slows you up a bit”),  is in town to talk at Thursday’s opening of the 30th Melbourne Writers Festival.

“I was suddenly invited all over the world. People wanted to know what my favourite smell was and all that rubbish. I had less and less time to write and less continuous time in which I could concentrate.”

That was partly why his subsequent book, Birds Without Wings, took such a long time to write. “It was also the first time in my life I had any money and I spent quite a lot of the time spending the money rather than working.”

More recently he’s been hard at work on The Dust that Falls from Dreams, the first part of a trilogy inspired by the discovery that the grandfather who had vanished in the 1940s had been living in Canada until he died at the age of 96. “What that did was kick off a lot interesting possibilities.” The missing man had married de Bernieres’ grandmother, whose first fiance had been killed early in World War I.

While his subjects are often love and war – war, he says, brings out the strongest stories – de Bernieres baulks at the label of romantic novelist.

“I am very interested in love, but all the different kinds – the love between parents and children, between siblings, or between human beings and animals. There are so many different kinds of human love and I am determined not to get stuck on the romantic one. I’m probably more interested in how you love your daughter than how you love your wife.”

He knows where he’s heading with the trilogy, even if he hasn’t mapped the whole thing out. Indeed he’s written the last chapter: “I’m pleased with it because it’s in the form of an epitaph, so that’s sad but it implies a very happy ending.”

When he returns to England, he has another pressing task. Nelson Woss, producer of the film adaptation of his book Red Dog, has asked him to write the novelisation of the cinematic prequel, Blue Dog, that is in post-production.

“My first reaction was no chance, this is just prostitution. Then he sent me the script and it’s really good. I’m going to get it done by Christmas so it can be out in time for the film.”

But apparently there’s a question of revenge. “You know how scriptwriters always mess around with your story? I’m going to get revenge by messing around with his.” He seems serious. FIVE PICKS AT MWF

Rob Thomas: Veronica Mars to IZombie.

Thursday, 9pm, Deakin Edge

Annabel Crabb & Kate Grenville: Wives & Mothers

Friday, 7pm, Deakin Edge

Laurie Penny on Feminism

Friday, 5.30pm, Deakin Edge

Mark Latham: Politicians as Journalists

Saturday, 2.30pm, Deakin Edge

Aussie Bestsellers: Liane Moriarty & Graeme Simsion

Sunday, 10am, Deakin Edge

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‘Disgraceful’: parents vent anger at children’s hospital parking costs

Parking remains an issue for parents of sick children being treated at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. Photo: Michelle SmithLady Cilento Children’s Hospital concerns raised in JuneLady Cilento Hospital ‘rushed opening’ findings to guide Sunshine Coast hospital
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Parents unhappy with the cost of parking at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital could see some relief in the near future.

The issue has been raging on the Children’s Health Queensland Facebook page since August 3, when the price of parking at the facility increased by $1 per visit.

Parents expressed their anger at having to fork out between $8 and $28 for parking.

“It already costs me $27 to park for my daughter’s monthly medical treatment admission,” wrote Lauren Harrison.

“That’s over $5000 in parking for the next 16 years of her (never going to stop) monthly admissions.”

Commenter Kate Lolive described it as “disgraceful”.

“Having to attend the hospital multiple times a week and also other hospitals and appointments for my daughter with multiple disabilities, the stress of the financial cost and extra stress trying to find street parking or other options available is something that families with sick children don’t need,” she wrote.

The LCCH has more than 2000 car spaces available in the hospital precinct for staff, patients, families and visitors, including 650 in the basement car park and 1500 in the Hancock Street car park.

Both are run by Mater Health Services which sets the price of parking.

In a statement, Mater said its fees were benchmarked against the general area, and all revenue was reinvested in patient care and medical research.

“Mater is aware of the high demand for car parking in the precinct and the anxiety that is caused when parking is difficult to find,” the statement said.

“As a result Mater is working closely with Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital to develop some solutions to ease access to parking for patients and their families and it is hoped these will be able to be implemented in the near future.”

Children’s Health Queensland CEO Fionnagh Dougan said they realised parking was an ongoing area of concern for parents and relatives of sick children.

“The introduction of four-hour parking zones on the Upper and Lower B1 levels of the hospital’s basement car park aims to address this issue and improve access for LCCH families,” she said.

“The four-hour time limit will deem them unsuitable for commuters and workers in the immediate area and nearby South Bank precinct, thereby improving availability for families.”

But parents on Facebook have dismissed the four hour parking zones as hopeful at best.

“What is going to happen if you park there for more than four hours? Are they going to start fining people?” asked Kirsty Butler.

“What if you’re waiting for an appointment and the clinic is running behind? I’ve waited for 2.5 hrs for an ophthalmology appointment for my daughter before as they were running that behind.”

Ms Dougan said the LCCH already provided discounted parking rates for some families experiencing particular hardships.

“These provisions generally assist families of long-term patients, rather than have them incur normal costs for weeks or months of parking,” she said.

But many parents believed the criteria for receiving such support was too limited.

“When I inquired about this, I was told eligibility is being an inpatient for three or more days and holding a health care card,” wrote Cassie Hammond.

“There was no inclusion of outpatient appointments, which for families with a child with chronic and complex care needs are often many and it is often difficult to get appointments on the same day.”

Sharlenn Mizzi accused the LCCH and Mater of profiting off people’s misery.

“We travel 47kms everyday and then pay a nearly $30 in parking fees,” she wrote.

“We have a child who is chronically ill and will be in and out of hospital for years to come. In this admission we have paid close to $400 in parking passes. Queensland Health stop sitting on your hands and sort out this ridiculous situation!”

Parking costs at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital: First 30 minutes $830 minutes – 1 hour $141 hour – 2 hours $182 hours – 3 hours $223 hours – 4 hours $244 hours to 24 hours $28Lost ticket $40Unlimited parking permits are available for $72 for three days or $110 for five days. 

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Jo-Ann Miller integrity question deflected seven times

Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller is “working hard”, just ask acting Premier Jackie Trad. Photo: Chris HydeSeven times asked, seven times deflected.
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“Working hard” has become the acceptable answer to any question a minister is asked about a colleague, with acting Premier Jackie Trad falling back on Annastacia Palaszczuk’s answer from July 13 in relation to beleaguered Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller.

At that time it was in regards to whether Ms Palaszczuk believed Ms Miller was doing a good job. “She is working very hard,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

On Wednesday, when Ms Trad was asked if she had confidence in Ms Miller despite her referral to the Ethics Committee, it was her turn to use the phrase.

Seven times.

“In relation to Jo-Ann Miller, everybody knows that the issues that have been canvassed of the past day and a half are now before the Ethics Committee as they should be,” she said.

“I am a very good colleague of the Police Minister, Jo-Ann Miller, and can I say the Ethics Committee needs to get on with its job without interference, without speculation, without pre-empting all of their deliberations.

“I’m very happy to say that Jo-Ann Miller is working very hard preparing for Estimates and I work closely with Jo-Ann Miller as I do with every single member of the Palaszczuk Labor Cabinet.”

To say anything else would be to interfere with the Ethics Committee investigation, Ms Trad added.

“The Premier of this state has articulated her position in relation to Jo-Ann Miller and this, quite frankly, is not going to be a circus where everybody standing up is going to comment on whether or not they have confidence in the Police Minister,” she said.

“The Police Minister is entitled to have her matter dealt with by the Ethics Committee in a way which is free from interference, quite frankly.

“I do think it interferes, because obviously this is the basis of the questioning about the matters that are currently before the Ethics Committee.

“Jo-Ann is working hard and I know that she’ll do a great job tomorrow at the Ethics Committee, ah, at the Estimates Committee.  We should just let the Ethics Committee get on with its job.”

But that won’t stop the Opposition from asking about it every day during the estimates hearings, despite successive chairs ruling the questions, which are meant to focus on how the government is spending taxpayer money, continually out of order.

Shadow transport spokesman Scott Emerson said he believed that is what Queenslanders wanted.

“We are determined to make sure we keep the pressure on this government, over these issues of integrity, openness and accountability,” he said.

“This is a scandal of this government that that Police Minister remains in the job and we will continue to question the government on why it is continuing to protect Jo-Ann Miller rather than do the right thing by Queenslanders and sack Jo-Ann Miller.

“I think Queenslanders want us to keep questioning this government over this issue.  They understand that the Police Minister should have no integrity issues about her.”

But perhaps the message was slowly seeping in. Tim Nicholls, after complimenting Ms Trad on her new haircut, stated he had intended to ask about Ms Miller, but believed he already knew what the Chair’s answer would be, when he took the lead questioning role at the estimates hearing less than an hour later.

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Councillor moves on from Lincoln

GARDEN: Councillor Travis Rogers is leaving Port Lincoln to move to Queensland with his partner.PORT Lincoln City Councillor Travis Rogers attended his last council meeting on Monday as he prepares to move to Queensland with his partner.
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Mr Rogers had given notice previously of his intention to step down as councillor as he prepares to move to Gladstone.

Mr Rogers said the decision to step down came about after his partner was offered a job in Gladstone, which meant leaving Port Lincoln after living in the town for about 13 years.

“It’s important we support each other and what we want to do in life,” he said.

Mr Rogers was first elected to the Port Lincoln City Council in 2010 and was re-elected in the council election last year.

In his address to council, Mr Rogers thanked all councillors and staff he worked with for the past five years and said he had learned so much from his time as being a leader.

“Being a community leader shouldn’t be taken for granted, it’s an honour to be in that role and I learned so much from every other council member and staff along the way,” he said.

“I’m proud of the fact that the council is more inclusive and more representative of the community as it is, it has more of a social agenda, is more youth focused and has great guiding documents including long-term financial plans and infrastructure plans to ensure financial sustainability.”

One thing Mr Rogers would like to see happen in the future is to see the Murray Point area become an open recreational area, based on its environmental value.

In his address, Port Lincoln mayor Bruce Green thanked Mr Rogers for his service and credited him as always being considered, respectful and progressive.

The council’s chief executive officer, Rob Donaldson, also thanked him for his service and commended his ability to work through any difficulties.

As well as serving as a community leader, Mr Rogers has been an active member the community, including through the Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service and West Coast Youth and Community Support.

He said as a drug and alcohol mental health worker he walked alongside people as they made positive changes in their lives and helped with several initiatives, including the services bush tucker garden.

One thing he aims to do in Gladstone is finish his degree in clinical psychology, with the goal of eventually going into his own practice.

Out of everything in the community, Mr Rogers said he would miss the people, the connections and the friendships he made during his time in Port Lincoln, but they wouldn’t be forgotten.

“Thank you to everyone who chose to support me and my ideas, particularly my fellow councillor colleagues and staff, and mayor Bruce (Green) for being a wonderful mentor for myself,” he said.

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‘Speechies’ have positive impact

SPEECHIES: Port Lincoln speech pathologists (back) Sarah Wallis, Majella Mrdjen, Kerri Trengove, Tamara Strudwick; front: Georgie Turner and Amber Lovell are raising awareness for Speech Pathology Week.LOCAL speech pathologists will host a story time day at the Port Lincoln Library next Tuesday to raise awareness about the service they provide as part of Speech Pathology Week.
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Coinciding with the 2015 Book Week, the story time day will give local speech pathologists from the education department an opportunity to show the public what they do to help.

Department for Education and Child Development speech pathologist Majella Mrdjen said there were a range of different people that “speechies” worked with.

She said however when it came to the education department, it was about building communication skills and fixing speech issues with young people.

“For children with speech or language issues, early intervention is key,” Ms Mrdjen said.

“If parents notice any issues, speech pathologists can help out.”

Next week the Book Week winners will also be announced and the library will be abuzz with young students.

Speech Pathology Week aims to raise awareness about the work speech pathologists do in their communities and the positive affect they have on young people in society.

There are more than 1.1 million Australians that have difficulty communicating, which is on-par with the number of people with diabetes and three times the number of people with dementia.

Ms Mrdjen said being able to communicate effectively was a crucial skill throughout day-to-day life and next week would highlight the importance of speech pathology to the local community.

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Shire shows its support for city’s bypass

Tony Doyle
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HINDMARSH Shire Council has thrown its support behind a proposed Western Highway bypass of Horsham.

Council made a submission about the project to VicRoads this month.

Chief executive Tony Doyle said removing heavy traffic from Horsham city was important for the Wimmera.

He said it was also important to reduce travel times for people travelling across the region.

Mr Doyle said council did not identify a preferred route.

“Given Hindmarsh Shire Council is not a representative body for these impacted parties, council believes it would be inappropriate for it to identify a preferred route, and rather focus its submission onHindmarsh shire,” he said.

Mr Doyle acknowledged each route had effects for houses, farms and amenities at Riverside and Dooen Heights.

He said council included a number of points in its submission to VicRoads, such as safety forHorsham residents andeconomic benefits.Council also raised the possibility of linking the bypass to the Wimmera and Henty highways in the future.

He said council hoped works on the bypass would start as soon as possible.

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OUR SAY: A Ronald McDonald House we can truly call our own

FOR so many years the name Ronald McDonald House was synonymous as a place in Sydney where families from Orange and the Central West could stay while their child was were receiving specialist care that was not available in the region.
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Fast forward to 2015 and now it is Orange’s Ronald McDonald House that is the leading the way in the provision of a facility for the people of the Central West they can truly call their own.

While the volunteers and staff of Ronald McDonald House need no motivation to stick to their task of maintaining Orange’s newly-opened house, the emerging trend that so many families are using the house as their accommodation and support base while their child is treated at the child and adolescent mental health unit is surely an incentive to remained energised and focused.

Families in distress are coming to Orange from five health districts, which equates to 86 per cent of the state, to access the mental health and other specialist services for their children at Orange.

So far 100 volunteers, including those who stay overnight, have come forward to be trained to work as volunteers at the house in a variety of roles.

However, as the number of families using the house continues to grow and it reaches its capacity daily, another 100 volunteers are needed to ensure the seven-day-a-week, 24-hour roster runs smoothly.

Orange and Central West residents should feel proud they have raised more than $4 million to build the house in Orange, and the occupancy so far by so many families who are experiencing the trauma of a child or adolescent struggling with a mental health problem is proof of the incredible generosity of the local and regional community who are making a difference in people’s lives.

The launch at the Ronald McDonald House ball on Saturday night of the “Can You Help Us Keep the Doors Open” campaign will take on a special significance now that the house is making such a difference to people’s lives.

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Mission accomplished as Ungarie chase flag

FAMILY AFFAIR: The Archibald crew, Kris, Reece, Michael, Wayde and Kyle all in Ungarie colours this year.WIN, lose or draw in Saturday’s Northern Riverina League grand final, the Archibald family haveachieved their goal for 2015.
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Ungarie will enjoy their first grand final appearance in 15 years when they run out to play Lake Cargelligo at West Wyalong on Saturday.

It will be a huge occasion for the township of Ungarie and it’s population of 300 as the Magpies look to break their premiership drought than spans back to 2001.

The last time Ungarie played finals, back in 2013, is a story in itself after the Magpies finished on the bottom of the ladder, only to be given the opportunity when the fifth and sixth placed teams could not field the numbers.

Kyle Archibald is one of a number of Ungarie juniors that agreed to travel home this season to play.

He, his brothers Michael and Kris, and cousins Wade and Reece wanted to have a year together and have also convinced friends to make the trip with them.

“The original plan was just for the five cousins to play together for one game,” Kyle explained.

“Things snowballed from there.”

Ungarie captain-coach Ryan McClintock moved he and his family homefrom Canberra a couple of years ago.

Kyle, who spent two years at Richmond as a teen, travels three hours from Yarrawonga every weekend to play at Ungarie.

Wade and fellow Ungarie junior Dave Barron travel two hours from Wagga, while Grant Daly and a mate make the four-hour trip from Bathurst.

Kris travels from Canberra, while Michael and friend,Fox Sports presenter,Ben Way make the long trip from Sydney during all hours of the night.

Kyle explains it is all for one simple goal.

“We want to see the small country community doing well,” he said.

“There is more to it than just a small town, and more to it than just a little football club.

“When we were kids growing up, the culture was great, the pub was packed on a Saturday night and that’s what we want these kids growing up into.”

Ungarie will go into the grand final as underdog after Lake Cargelligo trounced them by 61 points in the second semi-final.

Archibald believes if the Magpies produce their best, they can win, but also explained that the players had already achieved one goal.

“(A win) would be huge, just to get the buzz around town,” he said.

“Win, lose or draw, we’ve already acheived what we wanted to and that was to get the community together.

“To win a flag would just top it off.”

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Men’s shed boosters

A NUMBER of the Wimmera’s men’s sheds have been given a boost with federal government funding.
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ON TRACK: Rupanyup and District Consultative Committee vice-president Ray Kingston and project manager Adrian Tyler at the site of a men’s shed the committee is building. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

Men’s sheds at Rupanyup, Harrow, Hopetoun and Kaniva were all awarded grants through the federal government’s National Shed Development Program.

A men’s shed being built by the Rupanyup and District Consultative Committee received $7000 through the grants program.

The shed is still under construction.

The group received the money forelectrical work and to connect the shedto a power supply.

SecretaryAdrian Tyler said the grant brought the consultative committee one step closer to completing and opening the shed.

He said the committee hoped to open the shed for community members to use before Christmas.

Mr Tyler said55 people had already registered interest into using the men’s shed.

He said he expected about 30 active members to attend regular meetings when the shed opened.

“It’s been an amazing response,” he said.

Mr Tyler said the consultative committeehad been working on building the men’s shedsince 2012.

“It’s been a long process but we’re nearly there,” he said.

Member for Mallee AndrewBroad welcomed the funding to all of the men’s sheds.

He said the grants helped fund the development and sustainability of the groups.

“Across the Wimmera and Mallee, I have seen the incredible contribution that the men’s shedsare making in our communities, particularly in our smaller towns,” he said.

Hopetoun Men’s Shed received $3000 for a number of tools including a welder, mitre saw, drill press and drill hammer.

The money will also be used to cover the cost of freight to transport the tools.

Harrow Men’s Shed also received $3000.

The men’s shed group will use the money to install a concrete path and safety rails to improve the accessibility of the shed.

Kaniva Men’s Shed received money fortools including saws, drills, heat guns, sanders and welders.

All men’s sheds were eligible to apply for up to $8000 in grant funding through the program, runby the AustralianMen’sShed Association.

Mr Broad announced the successful grant recipientson Monday.

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Whyalla Foreshore adopted as beach’s official name

The votes are in and Whyalla’s beach will now formally be called the Whyalla Foreshore. Pictured was mayor Jim Pollock.The votes are in and Whyalla’s beach will now formally be called the Whyalla Foreshore.
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It was resolved at the August council meeting that the beach be renamed Whyalla Foreshore, with the associated car parks being labelled Whyalla Foreshore Eastern Car Park and Whyalla Foreshore Western Car Park.

It was recommended to council that the foreshore be officially named and associated car parks be differentiated to assist emergency crews in locating persons in trouble in the case of an emergency.

The council undertook a rigorous public consultation process, with community feedback received indicating a strong preference for the name Whyalla Foreshore to be officially adopted.

From the public consultation period 142 submissions were received with 79 per cent of respondents preferring Whyalla Foreshore and the cark park names that were associated with this name.

Whyalla mayor Jim Pollock said the adoption of an official name for Whyalla’s foreshore area would assist emergency crews when faced with an emergency situation.

“It is necessary for us to have an official name and way to differentiate the different car parks and areas at the foreshore in the case of an emergency,” Mr Pollock said.

“While this won’t necessarily result in any changes for residents, it is important they are aware of the new name so that should they need to direct emergency staff to a situation they know where to send them.”

Notification of this recommendation will now be forwarded to the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure’s Geographical Names Unit for official gazettal.

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Ben Emms secures world title

Ben Emms being Chaired to the presentation by his Australian Teamates.
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Lyndhurst resident Ben Emms, is the newly crowned world champion in the sport of Fullbore Rifle Shooting.

Ben began rifle shooting early on through his family’s interest in the sport.

The family property has been home to the Lyndhurst Rifle Club since 1921.

The stock and station agent found himself at the top of the leaderboard after competing against 400 of the world’s best in the championships held in the United States.

The event of Fullbore Rifle Shooting entails firing single shot target rifles with metal sights over the 800/900 and 1000 yard ranges.

The rifles are fired from the prone position with no rest just a sling supporting the rifle.

Like other target shooting sports, athletes need to be well physically and mentally rehearsed in order to reach the highest level, due to the demand it puts on the body.

The world championships for this sport are held every four years and attracts competitors from all over the globe.

Ben’s Newcastle teammate Matt Pozzebon, who earlier in the week emulated Ben’s last year success by winning the USA Championships, was a close finishing third in the world championship.

The rifle shooting team competition, the Palma Teams Match, was held after the completion of the individual rounds.

Australia placed fourth in this event after a close battle with South Africa and Great Britain took out the title.

Scores from the Individual Competition were:

Emms, Ben 669-77 Australia.

Ball, Nigel 668-75 Great Britain.

Pozzebon, Matthew 666-78 Australia.

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Opinion: Cronulla-Sutherland Kayak Club’s magnificent seven take on world

Darren Lee, Nadya Mikhailova, David Little, Dallas Newman, Lorraine Harper-Horak and in the front Pauline Findlay and Sasa Vujanic will all be representing Australia at the Kayak world masters. Picture: Jane DysonCRONULLA-Sutherland Kayak Club has seven members headed overseas next month to represent Australia at the Marathon World Cup Masters and Marathon World Championships in Gyor, Hungary.
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One of their final tune-ups for the international series of races was held on Saturday at Grays Point when the club staged a round of the state marathon series.

More than 140 entrants took to the water for endurance canoe racing at Grays Point.

Cronulla Sutherland Kayak Club secretary Peter Sigal said Australian Canoeing named the magnificent seven to represent at the International Canoe Federation World Canoe Marathon Championships and the World Masters Cup.

The Masters World Cup is on September 8-9; the World Championship September 11-13.

The seven selected are Nadya Mikhailova, Pauline Findlay, Dallas Newman, Lorraine Harper Horak will compete along with Darren Lee and David Little in the Masters World Cup in both K1 and K2 class events. Australian marathon champion Sasa Vujanic will compete in the World Marathon Championship men’s senior K1 event.

Sigal said the their selection was as a result of individual performances at the Australian Marathon Championships held in Canberra earlier this year.

Sigal said it’s a credit to their club and reflects the top calibre of people that are members of the club.

Two Test greats

ON THE cricket front, the fifth Ashes Test starts at The Oval in south London today, as skipper Michael Clarke wears the baggy green for the last time.

I spoke about my endorsement of Clarke in this column last Thursday.

He has been a wonderful player and fine leader.

This will be his 115th and final Test match.

The Test, limited-overs one-dayers and Twenty20 sides will be captained by Sutherland Cricket Club’s Steve Smith, who was formally appointed on Friday .

Clarke was the brash young stroke-maker who became the steadfast, tough, selective shot-maker and the studied accumulator as his career developed.

Smith deserves full support and have the opportunity to take the next generation of players forward at international level.

At 26 he still has many, many, many innings ahead of him.

He is a humble young man, articulate, and communicates and relates well with people of all ages.

Smith has hinted he may even drop himself down the batting order to No. 4 from his newly acquired No.3 position.

Smith should stay at No.3 and build a new middle order around him.

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Format to spice up comp

FAST TENNIS: Event sponsor, Port Lincoln McDonald’s owner Tony Baj and local tennis export Darren Polkinghorne are excited about the launch of Port Lincoln’s new Fast Tennis competition, which starts tomorrow night.A NEW tennis concept that’s sweeping the sport will touch down in Port Lincoln tomorrow night as a prelude to the upcoming summer season.
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Fast Tennis, a shortened mixed format of the game with four-game sets, no-advantage deuce games and the playing of lets aims to spice up the local competition and get more people involved.

Port Lincoln Tennis Association president Julie Polkinghorne said matches would be quick, exciting and a lot of fun.

The competition will run on Friday nights at 6.15pm for five weeks before regular summer tennis begins.

Mrs Polkinghorne said the association was looking at new ways to filter fresh faces in to the regular competitions and thought a fun way to do that would be to try the Fast Tennis concept.

Teams of four will be mixed and need a minimum of one female player, and both juniors and seniors are encouraged to participate.

Each Friday the competition will start with doubles matches, which are best of two sets with a super tie-break used to decide any tied games.

Singles matches will follow, which are best of three sets, and all sets will be decided by a mini tie-break at 3-3.

Mrs Polkinghorne said McDonald’s had come on board as a major sponsor, which reduced the cost to nothing for Port Lincoln Tennis Association members and $2 per person for non-members.

She said she was “stoked with the response” and was looking forward to seeing some fresh faces at the tennis tomorrow night.

Entries close today so if you would like to be involved contact Julie Polkinghorne on 0428 531 106.

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